Costa Rica’s program for medical cannabis, hemp could start in autumn

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Proponents are optimistic that a proposed law that would establish a framework for medical cannabis and industrial hemp in Costa Rica could be in place by this autumn.

The law still must be confirmed in the Environment Commission, and pass other parliamentary checks before going for a vote, but independent Deputy Zoila Rosa Volio, who first proposed the law last year, said it has the endorsement of the majority of political parties and is considered a priority on the legislative agenda.


The new law would legalize production including sowing, cultivation, harvesting, storage and transport of cannabis products.

Jurisdiction would be under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Ministry of Health. Those agencies would oversee inspection, production, industrialization and commercialization of hemp for industrial purposes and food, and psychoactive cannabis exclusively for therapeutic medicinal purposes. The proposed law does not seek to legalize recreational marijuana.

Licensing under MAG

MAG would control licensing for the import and reproduction of cultivation seeds with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CRSS), which is reponsible for most of the country’s public health sector, or authorized laboratories or entities. Those licenses would only be available to organizations such as cantonal agricultural centers, associations of small and medium producers, cooperatives and indigenous development associations.

Rosa Volio said the proposed law could spark development of the pharmaceutical industry, and pre-market value chains starting in agriculture.

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